DixieDolphin (dixiedolphin) wrote in bad_service,

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Debacle at the Flats

Well, I've never felt the need to post to this community, although I've long read it from afar. But this just took the cake tonight.

Now, here in C. Florida, we have this AWESOME chain of tex-mex restaurants (started locally, as a matter of fact) called Tijuana Flats. I've been a loyal customer for years, eating at their locations all over town. I was THRILLED tonight when I learned a new one opened less than a mile away from my apartment a couple weeks ago.

So, tonight I decided to go down there and partake in a nice quick dinner. But.. it all went awry... terribly, terribly wrong! =P

Apparently they don't have the same hours as the other stores yet, but I still had a good 45 minutes till they closed when I arrived. Nevertheless, I went up to the counter and placed my order. I've placed this order a TON of times at these stores, so I know exactly how to phrase it so they don't screw it up. Chicken flautas, with only tomatoes, salsa and queso on the side. Easy.

Well, I could sorta tell by the way the waitress was haphazardly entering my info that she was screwing it up, so I repeated it very precisely to her just to be sure. And since it was getting late, I laid a big tip on the CC slip, too (just about 40%). I eat at these places all the time, and the other branches I frequent usually know me & know I tip well. Hell, I did a lot of waitressing years ago in similar places. So I understand how it goes.

I hand over the slip and wait for her to give me my soda. And wait. And wait. Finally, I have to ask the manager at the next register over to give me my drink. But no big deal, I write it off as a it's-getting-late sorta thing.

Went out to a table outside to wait for my order. It shows up and I notice right away that it's already screwed up. I was just about to mention that, but before I can even say a word the waitress DUMPS THE WHOLE TRAY OVER. I understand that accidents happen (and have dumped my fair share of trays and drinks before, too). But after the initial surprise, I suddenly realize that the entire bowl of HOT queso has landed on my Tevo sandaled foot. OWW! So, I jump up, yelping that it's HOT on my foot and hopping around to find something to get it off with. I beg the waitress for a glass of water and she runs back into the restaurant and disappears. THANKFULLY, the nice family at the next table quickly hands me a glass of their ice water which I dump on my burning toes. Then they found me some napkins to try and wipe it off with (THANK YOU, kind strangers! You rock!) I yank the sandal off and clean the hot cheese off of my toes. By this point, I don't even care that it's also all over my pantleg and sticking to all the crevices of my sandal straps. I'm just glad the heat is out.

FINALLY, the waitress comes back out with a broom and dustbin. NO WATER, NO napkins, no NOTHING. Particularly, no apology. She starts sweeping up the mess and I ask her again for a glass of water, now to try and rinse the coagulating cheese off my sandal. After she sweeps it all up, she finally returns with a little cup of water. Which basically proves useless by this point anyway.

While she's cleaning up the last of the mess, I politely mention the errors on the original plate (now scattered between the sidewalk cracks). I ask her if she can make sure it's right on the next round. She gives me this huffy look and says something like, "sure, whatever." Then stomps back into the restaurant.

My confidence is quickly fading. I look at the nice family at the next table sheepishly and jokingly ask, "gee.. I wonder what I did to deserve all this?" We share a laugh and then I get back to waiting for round two.

As it approaches (in the hands of a /different/ waitress this time), I can see that it is AGAIN wrong.. with a huge mound of jalapeños and NO salsa or tomatoes. UGH. Pulling my chair WAY back and keeping my now-bare foot well out of the way, I wait for her to come over with it and politely ask her to please fix it. I'm almost afraid to ask, but I want my salsa, damnit!

Waitress #2 is nice about it and goes back to correct it, bringing me my tomatoes & salsa. Then she disappears and doesn't come back at all. While I'm quickly eating this, anxious to get done and out of there, I watch the manager come out. I think to myself, "Ah.. now I'll get an apology." Nope.. he walks out with another employee, chatting and laughing, walks the other guy to his car, then goes back inside without even a glance in my direction. He goes back inside the restaurant, closes the door, and locks it behind him.

I'm dumbfounded, but decided against pursuing the matter. Thankfully, my foot was not seriously hurt.. just a little tingly and red, but not seriously burned. So, I figure the hell with it... I throw my cheese-covered shoe in the back of my truck and go home barefoot. It's soaking in a bleach bucket now.

I wish this place didn't make you pay up front. I wouldn't have left that 40% tip had I known I was going to be assaulted with flautas. =P

My Impression: Now, accidents happen. I understand that. I've BEEN there, spilling drinks and dropping food at customer tables in my server years. But if I ever made a mistake like that, I ALWAYS strove to apologize and correct the matter... even if it meant comp'ing their meal or giving them something extra out of my own pocket (my boss was a penny pincher, so mistakes came out of OUR checks). I just can't believe how completely uncaring the waitress was. No apologies, no help, no nothing. UGH.

All I can say is I'm /supremely/ glad that family was at the table next to mine, because otherwise my foot might have been hurt worse.

I'm going to give them the slight benefit of the doubt, though... it IS a new location.. just opened a couple weeks ago.

But if anybody is in the O-Town area, I highly recommend NOT eating at the S. Orange Ave. location of Tijuana Flats until they have got their act fully together. Stick to the other, more established ones. Unless you like your feet smelling of cheese. =P

I hate to rant, but there it is. =)

Edit: Eep! Sorry, this ended up longer than I anticipated!
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